Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Angels Home Opener vs. Oakland Ahtletics 4/9/13
On Tuesday I made the trip to Angel Stadium for game one of the Oakland Atheltics vs. Los Angeles Angels series. Not only was it game one of the series, but it was also game one at Angel Stadium, and I was not about to miss my fourth straight home opener/Opening Day game.
I arrived at the stadium just prior to the gates opening. I got word from some of my friends that all of the big names for the Angels (Trout, Pujols, Hamilton, etc.) all stopped and signed on their way in. This figures since it was the first home game of the year for the Angels. I've really stopped caring about the Angels too much this past year or so. I've literally gotten every one's autograph (including Hamilton's) that I need. I wouldn't mind getting a few of the new guys like Madson, Hanson, and/or Blanton, but to be honest I don't feel like waiting all day with 50 people to most likely just get Scott Downs' autograph. Anyways the gates opened and I hurried inside with some of the usual graphers. When I got down by the field I noticed Hamilton talking with the A's bullpen catcher about 10 yards from where I was standing. A small group of maybe 10 people soon gathered and we asked Josh if he'd come over and sign. Sure enough, after finishing up his conversation, Josh came over and signed for a good 10 minutes. Josh was really cool and was taking his time to talk with all of the fans. He is truly one of the classiest superstars in the game and I'm excited to see how many Hamilton autographs I can get this year. Josh was kind enough to sign three cards for me, as well as a baseball for one of my friends who is an usher at the stadium.
Right after getting Hamilton's autograph I noticed Seth Smith signing near the dugout. I hurried over and walked right up to Seth, who was kind enough to sign my 2013 Topps Heritage card.
The card pictured to the right of it was signed by A.J. Griffin after BP. A.J. was signed everything you had, but unfortunately I just had the one card of him. Eric Sogard then came over after finishing up his stretches. Eric is always cool about signing and was kind enough to sign two cards for me.
I actually called Eric over and therefor was the first person that he signed for. That ended up being critical in getting my next autograph. While everyone else was getting Sogard I noticed Chris Young finishing up his warm-up tosses. I ran over to Young and asked him for an autograph. To my surprise, he came over and signed for me and one other grapher who was lucky enough to catch Chris at the last second. I was thrilled to get Young's autograph on my 8x10 photo of him with the D-backs that I've been carrying around since Spring Training last season. Chris is a tough autograph to get, so I was thrilled that I was able to get him fairly easily. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the signed 8x10 so you will all just have to take my word for it. If you don't believe me, well... that's your problem.
I was off to a sensational start. Within 15 minutes of the gates opening I had already gotten Josh Hamilton, Seth Smith, Eric Sogard and, Chris Young's autograph. From there things slowed down just a bit. I went back over the dugout where I was able to get Jed Lowrie to sign a 2013 Topps card for me.
Everybody else was trying to get Yoenis Cespedes' attention, so literally nobody noticed that Lowrie was signing right in front of them. I think he was a tad bit surprised that nobody else wanted his autograph. What's funny is that nobody even knew that Jed had just signed for me until things died down a little and I started showing people the signed card. Cespedes did come over and signed, however he skipped over me. I wasn't too disappointed, and to be honest, I was happier getting Lowrie's autograph. I got Cespedes on an 8x10 and a card last season, however I've never gotten Lowrie, so I counted it as a win in my book.
That was it for BP autographs. Like I said above, A.j. Griffin signed my one card. Brett Anderson came over but unfortunately had left by the time A.J. finished signing my card. That's okay since Anderson is an easy autograph to get. Unlike most of the graphers I decided not to graph the players during their stretches. Instead I went up to my seats to see the player introductions and fly over. The A's come in a total of 9 times this year, but there is only one Opening Day.
The game took a painful 3 hours and 40 minutes and the Angels lost 9-5. Hamilton struggled in his first game as an Angel and did nothing in two bases loaded opportunities. The highlight of his debut was a sac-fly that brought home Brendan Harris and tied the game at 4 a piece. I was honestly debating on whether to do post game or not since I had school the next morning, but I figured I'd give it a try since this was the only game I planned on attending over the three game series. The first guy to come out and sign was Jarrod Parker, who started the game. Parker was quiet but signed for everyone waiting. He was strictly one per person but I had some help in getting the 2013 Topps card signed.
Parker actually told a fan that he doesn't sign baseballs. This confused me since he is baseball player the last time I checked. The only other person I've seen do this was Joey Votto, but come one, Jarrod Parker? Next up was a guy that does sign baseballs' Tommy Milone. Milone is always cool about signing and will sign everything you have. He was kind enough to sign 3 2013 Topps Heritage cards for me.
The final person that I got was former Angel Mark Langston. I kind of feel bad asking for Langston more and more times, but he never minds so I guess it's not that big of a deal. Langston was kind enough to signed a pair of cards for me.
After getting Langston I decided to cal it a night. There was still a nice SUV in the parking lot that I believe belonged to all of the coaches, however it was already midnight and I didn't want to wait any longer. A big thanks to all of the players who signed for me as well as a shout out to David, Greg, Rob, Alex, Matt Crocker, Scotty, Mike, Benson, and everyone else that I saw at the game. Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your week!